Sometimes you simply need enough broadband welly to destabilise the world's financial system or to launch a small rocket. Budding Dr Evils or other arch villains would certainly need something like 100mb of broadband to fulfil their dastardly plans. It's also worth remembering that Magnet has unlimited download capacity whereas the UPC deal has a surcharge that kicks in after 500gb per month – which is about 200 movies worth. Average monthly costs from the Telecoms Regulator managed www.callcosts.ie
Best: Magnet Fibre 100mb €55 per month
Avoid: UPC Fibre 100mb €68.63
Saving: €163.56 per year
contact: www.magnet.ie or 1890 809 000
Credit card whoopsies
Having been hidden away at the back of a drawer for most of the year, credit cards are coming back out for a lash. All the good resolutions are gone. You know it'll hurt in January when the Christmas shopping bill comes in. but it'll be even worse if you're late paying the bill. Credit card companies have all kinds of sneaky fees, with the late payment fee just one of many traps.
Best: Tesco €6.35
Avoid: Danske/ Ulster credit cards €8.50
contact: www.tesco.ie or local store
Electricity and gas bills
The standard tariffs for both Bord Gais and ESB aren't the absolute worst things on the market. There are – amazingly – some even more expensive options out there. This week we've priced up the options for someone already spending a modest €50 per month on ESB and another €50 on gas with Bord Gais – all standard tariffs and paid by direct debit. The findings show that you'll be crucified if you don't pay by direct debit or you actually want to get your bill in the post.
Best: Flogas direct debit €526.32 per year
Avoid: Airtricity (no direct debit or contract, posted bill) €610.53
Saving: €84.21 per year
contact: www.flogasnaturalgas.ie or 1850 30 68 00
Best: Bord Gais (direct debit, ebilling, level pay) €552.00 per year
Avoid: Pre-pay power €736.64
Saving: €184.64 per year
contact: www.bordgaisenergy.ie or 1850 435 435
Combined savings: €258.85
The "squeezed middle" is getting absolutely murdered by the rampant costs of health insurance in Ireland. The psychology is brilliant. Don't pay.... and you'll face the under-resourced, under- staffed and often stinky public health service. Do pay and you'll be living on cornflakes for the final week before payday. For basic cover for an adult with a semi-private room in a private hospital, with comparisons from the Health Insurance Authority. The cheapest deals from the main insurers are listed below.
Best: VHI One Plan 500 €630.80 per year
Avoid: Aviva Health Value €872
contact: www.vhi.ie or 1890 44 44 44
The cheapest diesel in the country was to be had at the Independent station in Birr last week, according to the addictive pumps.ie website, which tracks petrol and diesel prices around the place. The price in Birr was 146.8 per litre, whereas – on the same day – Texaco in Blanchardstown was a hefty 159.9 cent per cent. Filling up with 50 litres would be €6.55 dearer in Dublin. Imagine doing that every week? You'd potentially save over €340 per year just by going to a cheaper station. Use pumps.ie to compare your local stations. We've gone for 50 litres in the greater Dublin region.
Best: Top, Ushers Quay 149.8 cent per litre
Avoid: Texaco, Clonee 157.9